Bethnal Green & Bow Labour MP Rushanara Ali on how families are paying the price of Tory failure


- Credit: Archant

The Chancellor’s Budget two weeks ago was yet another missed opportunity to help families and small businesses who are struggling across East London. Instead of offering a much needed boost to growth, jobs, and living standards, this Budget offered more of the same failing policies.

Prices are rising faster than wages, families’ living standards are suffering and unemployment continues to rise. Long-term unemployment has gone up by nearly 10% over the past 12 months in my constituency. Real-terms earnings in Tower Hamlets have plummeted by 13% since 2008 and 14,000 working families across the Borough are suffering real terms cuts to their tax credits. I have spoken with hundreds of families whose household budgets are being squeezed by stagnant incomes and soaring housing costs. Private sector rents in Tower Hamlets jumped by almost £1,000 between 2011 and 2012.

This Government’s welfare reforms are making things worse. Over 4,500 households across Tower Hamlets will be hit by the Bedroom Tax and a similar number of new mums will be affected by cuts to Statutory Maternity Pay. As a result, homelessness is becoming a growing reality and a personal tragedy for thousands of people. Dozens of families with children are being put up in B&Bs and over 3,500 children are living in temporary accommodation across the Borough.

Meanwhile, the Government is handing 13,000 millionaires an average tax cut of £100,000 this week. This is simply unacceptable and unfair. Labour has made it clear that we would be cutting taxes for those at the bottom, rather than those at the top, and we need a proper plan for jobs and growth, including VAT cuts and a real jobs guarantee, as well as regulation of the private rented sector and a house building programme to build 100,000 affordable homes.

The Tories’ economic plan has completely failed and it is outrageous that families, pensioners and businesses are having to pay the price. The Government is at risk of creating a decade of low growth, falling living standards and a lost generation of talent. Britain deserves better than this.